How Much More is the NBA Willing to take from the NCAA?
Is there a rule more controversial that has more of an impact on sports than the NBA’s one-and-done rule institutionalized by former commissioner David Stern?
Is there anything that received as much backlash?
Players in America can drive. They are old enough to put their lives on the line and enlist themselves in the army, yet they cannot declare into the NBA. They need an extra year of growth coming out of high school. It’s really quite ridiculous, especially when you consider why Stern originally established the rule.
Prospects are seemingly too young to enter the league. Some of them will be 17-years of age and won’t even be able to sign their own contracts.
There will be an increased number of “busts” as who knows how a skinny 17-year old will develop? So why waste the time of scouts? Why force them to go to AAU games to scout potential draft picks?
Here’s the thing with scouting.
Top notch, five-star prospects are discovered when they are 13-14 years of age nowadays. Scouts are always on the prowl. They are at AAU games trying to spot the kids who are projectable. They are at random high school games across the country trying to find 16-year olds with tools that can be developed and that can translate on the next level. That’s what scouting is. The process does not start once the kid enters college, it has begun years beforehand, even with the one-and-done rule in place.
Fact is, teams have years of knowledge on the Zion Williamsons, the Andrew Wiggins, and the Julius Randles of the world, even before they step foot in Duke University, the University of Kansas, and the University of Kentucky. Everybody thought Randle was an insane talent in high school, much like people claimed Andrew Wiggins was the next LeBron James before he even suited up for Bill Self.
So what is the one-and-done rule really about? Is it about the NBPA protecting the jobs of the veteran players of the league? Is it the league trying to prevent the number of busts?
But see, by maintaining this rule, the NBA only continues to maintain a close-knit relationship with the NCAA, quite possibly the most corrupt governing body in all of sports. At the very least, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is definitely up there with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA. Now, with the FBI undergoing a mass investigation on the under-the-table dealings of the NCAA’s biggest collegiate programs, the NBA has been receiving residual damage.
Just a few days ago NBA commissioner Adam Silver woke up to read the morning paper off his fancy tablet, or maybe turned his flat-screen television onto see some alarming news. The FBI report unveiled that Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks NBA club has received money from ASM Sports while in college. DeAndre Ayton, a potential first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has received nearly $100K from Arizona’s coaching staff spearheaded by Head Coach Sean Miller to commit to the program.
Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, the list will only continue to grow as the investigation intensifies.
The interesting thing being. Dennis Smith Jr. was in NC State when he received funds. Bam Adebayo was in Kentucky. Fred VanVleet was at Wichita State. For the players currently in the league, these reports have no substance. They are meaningless. For the NBA, it has its name all over the reports. All throughout the media.
Everywhere yet all the players in the reports never received a penny once entering the NBA itself. Nevertheless, the league is being portrayed in bad light all because of how corrupt the NCAA is. All because the NCAA is unwilling to pay the players who generate millions for the panel of old white men residing in an office somewhere in Indianapolis.
Players that are destined for the NBA enter college and full-ride scholarships. The NCAA claims that players receive “free education”. A simply fickle statement that is so outer-worldly and simply repulsive.
NBA-bound players have multiple games a week. Some on the road. Some in different states. They have multiple practices around games. They also have media sessions, they have team-workouts. The ones who aspire to be in the NBA or see their draft stock increase also have multiple individual workouts per week.
Do they have time for class? No. They do not have any time to study and even care about their marks, that ultimately will not matter as players will go off to make millions in the league. Players who don’t get under-the-table funds are for the most part poor and are unable to get part-time jobs on the side to make enough to feed themselves and once second semester hits, conference tournaments begin, and then there is the National Tournament – March Madness – good luck catching players in classes focusing on their education during these hectic months.
Of course, when winning is mandatory, coaches and recruiters do whatever they must do to get an edge over their competition in the recruiting process, especially the top programs in the country that have head coaches that early close to $10-million annually.
So yes, DeAndre Ayton gets something out of it. Yes, Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Alabama, Wichita State, Kansas, and Texas are among all the schools who have done something deemed “illegal”. Thus, while the NCAA makes millions, coaches are set to lose their jobs, undergo court trials with the risk of lengthy prison sentences when ultimately found “guilty” of paying the athletes who come into college with the sole purpose of generating millions for their school in wait of cracking the NBA.
All throughout the process, the NBA itself is what receives the backlash. The NBA is what is negatively effected with each FBI report that comes to light.
“It’s just not a sustainable way of doing business,” Former American President Barack Obama said. “Then when everybody acts shocked that some kid from extraordinarily poor circumstances who’s got 5, 10, 15 million dollars waiting for him is going to be circled by everybody in a context in which people are making billions of dollars, it’s not good.”
The NBA cannot and must stop using the NCAA as a farm system for its future players much longer. Not even for the sake of the young players wasting a year of their lives in a system that takes advantage of them, but for their brand.
Commissioner Silver and the league can fix it. They have the ultimate alternative – the G League.
It is sponsored by Gatorade! It is generating bank for the NBA, despite for the most part being filled with no-name players who most have never heard of.
Now, plug in Zion Williamson who has an NBA-ready body. Plug in Andrew Wiggins who as a high-schooler had off-the-charts athletic ability. Plug in Julius Randle who in high school was a destructive force. All three will only generate more money for the league. The G League can then ultimately be a form of the minor leagues. A development system used to allow young players to grow, a league that can pay players who otherwise would not be in college, and once players are deemed ready to enter the NBA by their organizations, they would be called up.
Is really any con to the idea?
First and foremost, the NBA will no longer need to worry about having their name marred by the NCAA. The league will be able to cut ties from the NCAA, and best prospects coming out of high school will not waste their time in a collegiate system which gathers thousands upon thousands of student athletes, over 90-percent of whom will never turn professional and play in the NBA.
Zion Williamson will not get better playing against unranked schools with crummy basketball rosters. He will just keep on dunking on teams, much like he currently does in high school. He is a men amongst boys and its time that the NBA recognizes what they have on hand.
The G-League is the key and it’s time for the NBA to take full advantage of what they have at their disposal.